Wind energy has garnered a lot of praise along with criticism throughout the years, so here we discuss the advantages of wind energy and how it can help us reach the new frontier of sustainable living.
Breeze through the pros and cons of wind energy and see how it’s making construction greener.
What is wind energy?
Did you know that windmills have been around since 2000 B.C.? They were used to produce power for sailing and agriculture in what is modern day China and the Middle East. But today, wind energy is produced all over the globe and for a variety of different applications, including construction.
Wind turbines, or the modern-day equivalent of windmills, are a common occurrence; you’ve probably seen them in your car on your way to work or maybe on a road trip, but how much do you really know about wind energy?
Wind energy refers to the power (electricity) that is created from the kinetic energy of air currents. In modern turbines, wind rotates turbines’ rotor blades, which converts kinetic energy into rotational energy. Rotational energy is then transferred to a generator, which in turn produces the electrical energy that powers our homes, businesses, industrial processes, and even cities.
Wind energy can be harnessed onshore or offshore, near the coast or in the middle of our oceans. In fact, wind energy is actually a byproduct of solar energy. When solar radiation hits the earth at different intensities it creates a pressure that produces wind, which modern advances in technology use to generate energy. So, now that we know how it’s produced, let’s look at wind energy’s pros and cons.
Pros of wind energy
- Lowers our dependency on fossil fuels – Wind energy is a renewable energy resource, meaning it doesn’t require the use of finite natural resources and it reduces our dependency on heavy polluting fossil fuels.
- Reduces CO2 emissions – By switching to wind energy, we can avoid 329 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which in layman’s terms is the equivalent of talking 71 million cars off the road every year.
- Promotes a circular economy – Wind turbines run completely on the wind power they generate so they completely avoid the need for fuel for operation.
- Creates of jobs – Because wind energy is one of the most popular sources of renewable power, the wind industry continues to grow and produce more jobs, helping boost local and national economies.
- Lowers costs – Wind energy not only has low operating costs, but is considered to be one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity. Cost reductions are only expected to continue as wind energy technology and its adoption progresses.
- Flexibility – Nowadays wind turbines come in all shapes and sizes, meaning they work in a myriad of different settings.
Cons of wind energy
But no energy is source is perfect. Here are some commonly held negative perceptions about wind energy:
- It’s intermittent – Meaning that there isn’t always a steady stream of wind with which to produce the electricity required. This provides a dilemma in times when there is a peak in energy demand. Moreover, some areas are not prone to strong gusts of wind, therefore, wind energy is not a clean energy source for all locations.
- Negative aesthetics – Many of the complaints regarding wind energy are related to the aesthetic of wind turbines on onshore wind farms.
- Causes noise – Moreover, the noise that the turbine technology produces is a hot topic of concern from neighboring residents and businesses.
- Harmful to wildlife – In all settings, improperly designed wind turbine farms can cause harm to the native environments in which they habitat (e.g., marine ecosystems, local fauna and flora, birds and bats).
Wind energy in the construction industry
Wind energy is an increasingly useful resource that construction companies, big or small, are adopting. Why may you ask? Because it’s a low-cost electricity solution that helps companies abide by industry-wide objectives to reduce CO2 emissions.
For project managers, wind energy is also great option for temporary projects that have no connection to a traditional electricity grid. Furthermore, because wind energy is the fastest-growing power source in the world, the construction of new wind farms and their management is in high demand. In Mexico, for example, every year the government aims to reach the goal of generation with renewable resources by 35% each year and is investing heavily in wind energy technologies.
Hence, we are seeing the construction of more and more large-scale wind projects to increase clean energy consumption worldwide, especially with lower carbon cement and additive construction techniques like 3D printing.
New ways to design and construct wind turbines are being tested as the race to net zero becomes more competitive. In fact, Cemex are part of a recent consortium that received a grant from the European Commission to build a full-scale prototype of floating offshore wind turbines with a concrete foundation for an optimized lower-carbon structure.
What’s more, a small turbine in your back yard can easily power a small business or residential home, so it’s applicable to small Contech and Cleantech firms who are looking to operate on clean electricity. Wind energy is without a doubt an up-and-coming component of the 21st century construction industry, so it’s not too late to see how you can incorporate this clean energy in your operations or business model.
How Cemex Ventures helps the development of this type of energy
Cemex Ventures places its passion in four market-driven opportunity areas, one of which is Green Construction. We are taking an active role in the transition to a low-carbon economy through our efforts to decarbonize the built environment, mitigating its carbon footprint and promoting a circular economy by giving a new life to used and demolished materials.
To do this, we invest in, accelerate, and partner with aspiring startups whose solutions adopt renewable energy resources and make an efficient use of natural ones for more sustainable cities and urban areas in the future.
If this sounds like the solution your startup possesses, apply to the 7th annual Construction Startup Competition launching on April 25, 2023. There’s no time like the present; join the builders of the future now! Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for all updates related to the Competition.